FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 14, 2014
$57.8 Million in Civil and Criminal Actions, $62.4 Million in Forfeitures
NEWARK, N.J. – U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced today that the District of New Jersey collected $120,229,018.44 in FY 2013, which includes $57,792, 671.44 in criminal and civil actions, and – working with partner agencies and divisions – it collected an additional $62,436,347 in asset forfeiture actions.
The $57.8 million represents collections of $45,157,311.66 in criminal actions and $12,635,359.78 in civil actions. The $62.4 million in forfeited assets brought in by the office and its partners are deposited into the Department of Justice Assets Forfeiture Fund and are used to restore funds to crime victims and for a variety of law enforcement purposes. U.S Attorney Fishman created a stand-alone Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Unit in April 2010, which has increased the forfeited funds applied to victim compensation each year.
“Every year since I have been U.S. Attorney, the hardworking public servants in our office have collected far more in fines, penalties, asset forfeiture, restitution and settlements than our operating expenses,” said U.S. Attorney Fishman. “Most of that money goes to the general treasury of the United States, the share that belongs to victims of crime is returned to them, and some of it is shared with our state and local law enforcement partners. That is good economics and good for public safety.”
Attorney General Eric Holder announced last week that the Justice Department collected approximately $8.1 billion in civil and criminal actions in the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2013. The more than $8 billion in collections in FY 2013 represents nearly three times the appropriated $2.76 billion budget for the 94 U.S. Attorney’s offices and the main litigating divisions in that same period.
“The Department’s enforcement actions help not only to ensure justice is served, but also to deliver a valuable return to the taxpayer,” said Attorney General Holder. “It is critical that Congress provide the resources necessary to match the Department’s mounting caseload. As these figures show, supporting our federal prosecutors is a sound investment.”
Fiscal year 2013 is the first year the Justice Department is counting collections as shared totals in any case in which a U.S. Attorney’s Office was assisted by other U.S. Attorney’s Offices or department components, making for uneven office-specific comparisons to previous years. The department’s overall numbers are not affected by the change.
The New Jersey U.S. Attorney’s Office worked with other U.S. Attorney’s Offices and components of the Department of Justice to collect an additional $401,338,597.30 in cases pursued jointly with these offices. Of this amount, $56,796.50 was collected in criminal actions and $401,281,800.80 was collected in civil actions.
The U.S. Attorneys’ Offices, along with the department’s litigating divisions, are responsible for enforcing and collecting civil and criminal debts owed to the U.S. and criminal debts owed to federal crime victims. The law requires defendants to pay restitution to victims of certain federal crimes who have suffered a physical injury or financial loss. While restitution is paid to the victim, criminal fines and felony assessments are paid to the department’s Crime Victims’ Fund, which distributes the funds to state victim compensation and victim assistance programs.
Nationwide, the largest civil collections were from affirmative civil enforcement cases, in which the United States recovered government money lost to fraud or other misconduct or collected fines imposed on individuals, corporations or both for violations of federal health, safety, civil rights or environmental laws. In addition, civil debts were collected on behalf of several federal agencies, including the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Health and Human Services, Internal Revenue Service, Small Business Administration and Department of Education.
Many of the District of New Jersey’s largest collections this year arose from the office’s health care practice.
As a result of investigations by the New Jersey U.S. Attorneys’ Office and the Justice Department’s Civil Division, New Jersey-based Par Pharmaceutical Companies Inc. (Par) pleaded guilty in Newark federal court on March 5, 2013, and agreed to pay $45 million to resolve its criminal and civil liability for the company’s promotion of its prescription drug Megace® ES for uses not approved as safe and effective by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and not covered by federal health care programs.
This year’s collections also include more than $10.2 million paid to the United States as a result of an agreement between the Cooper Health System (Cooper) and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey in which Cooper paid $12.6 million to settle allegations that it violated the federal False Claims Act and New Jersey False Claims Act by making improper payments to physicians under so-called “consulting” and “compensation” agreements as it sought to build its cardiology program. Additionally, $2.3 million went directly to the state of New Jersey for Medicaid as a result of the agreement.
Both cases were investigated by the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General. Assistance in the Cooper case was provided by the N.J. Attorney General’s Office. Par was also investigated by the FDA’s Office of Criminal Investigation.